Date of Award

Spring 5-8-2021

Document Type

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

DenYelle Kenyon

Second Advisor

Angela Helmer

Third Advisor

Dallas Doane


Language Barrier, Interpretation, Medical Interpretation, Limited English Proficiency

Subject Categories

Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Interprofessional Education | Modern Languages | Patient Safety


The purpose of this paper is to examine the quality of healthcare that one can receive when the language barrier is a factor, looking specifically at the collaboration of interpreters and physicians in the delivery of care. To carry out this study, I have analyzed the presence of the language barrier in South Dakota, the current methods of interpretation in clinical settings, and how physicians and interpreters work together to provide care to Limited English Proficiency (LEP) patients. Data has been collected from scholarly articles, journals, presentations, and videos.

Ultimately, with my committee’s help, I have created a physician-interpreter training module for the Sanford School of Medicine to prepare future physicians to work alongside interpreters, improving care for LEP patients. This proposed training will be included in the medical school curriculum, enhancing the patient encounter and future health outcomes. As the immigrant population in South Dakota continues to grow, the need for meaningful access to healthcare for LEP patients grows as well. The ultimate goal is to increase the quality of care that these patients can receive in years to come.



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